Columbia Insight

Oregon StatePosted by
Columbia Insight

Invasive species are decimating Oregon’s rangeland

From shrubland to grassland, a new series of maps reflects major shrinkage of vegetative ecosystems, threats to wildlife, since 1980s. According to information released by the Oregon SageCon Partnership in late May, the trend of shrinking rangeland across southeastern Oregon is widespread. Maps that show five-year time slices from 1985 to the present indicate massive ecological changes.
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Portland, ORPosted by
Columbia Insight

Slobs force campground closures

From Oregon to Idaho, federal land authorities are shutting down campgrounds due to trash and vandalism. Take some of the popular primitive campgrounds along the stretch of the Columbia River east of Portland near The Dalles and John Day dams, where summer convoys of leave-no-trace-challenged RVers and car campers are long accustomed to free nights of boondocking on the banks.
Energy IndustryPosted by
Columbia Insight

Cheap power has lured massive cryptocurrency mining operations to Central Washington. At a crazy price

“It was a real Wild West-type situation here for awhile,” says Ron Cridlebaugh, Chelan Douglas Regional Port Authority’s director of economic and business development. “A lot of people thought, ‘Wow, here’s an easy place to make a buck with all of this cheap, renewable energy.’ And many of them came flocking in without any real business plan or clue.”
Real EstatePosted by
Columbia Insight

SDS Lumber sale: While locals fret, companies evade questions

Lack of information leads to increasing unease as a New York investment firm moves in to handle the sale of a Columbia Gorge logging fixture. . For 75 years, the SDS Lumber Company headquartered in Bingen, Washington, has been managing 100,000 acres of prime Pacific Northwest forest resources, as well as local lumber mill operations in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge. In September 2020, a press release from SDS announced the company’s shareholders had decided to explore the sale of its timberland holdings and mill properties.
Washington StatePosted by
Columbia Insight

Clamshells begone! Washington takes lead in reducing plastic and boosting recycling

Broad support for a new law signed by Gov. Jay Inslee adopts the nation’s most comprehensive plastics ban and recycling revamp. Signed on May 17 by Gov. Jay Inslee with wide bipartisan support, the law (SB 5022) leads off with the country’s toughest ban on expanded polystyrene products. It’s been praised by environmental organizations and industry trade groups, and championed by the bill’s primary sponsor, Sen. Mona Das (D-Kent) as “the most advanced in the nation.”
Oregon StatePosted by
Columbia Insight

How the biggest river protection act in Oregon history was created

One supporter calls the River Democracy Act a ‘miracle’ piece of legislation. Here’s why. He sandwiched into the backseat. As campus demands faded he began to relax and appreciate in the scenery. Pavement turned to dirt and highways turned to waterways. By the time the group arrived at their destination along the McKenzie River he was re-energized. The car doors couldn’t open fast enough.
Oregon StatePosted by
Columbia Insight

Cheese in the desert: Why mega-dairies are piping water onto Oregon’s shrub-steppe

An environmental coalition is lobbying for a moratorium on mega-dairies, which have proliferated in a water-challenged area of northeastern Oregon. . Cody Easterday is still waiting for the Oregon Department of Agriculture to approve his application, submitted in June 2019, for a Confined Animal Feeding Operation near the city of Boardman (pop. 3,340), 165 miles east of Portland. Easterday, a 49-year-old rancher whose family owns a huge agricultural operation in Washington state, proposes to open a mega-dairy that would be the second-largest in Oregon. The Easterday Dairy would have up to 28,300 animals and use more water than most cities in the state.
Energy IndustryPosted by
Columbia Insight

Opinion: Storage is a critical piece of our clean energy future

The Gorge pumped-hydro project will bring jobs and help grid managers increase energy storage capacity. This winter’s weather-related blackouts in Texas, last summer’s rolling blackouts in California, the threat of emergency power shutoffs during our wildfire season—these are all reminders of how fragile our power grids can be. Our national electric grid—which is a huge network of power plants, transmission lines and distribution centers—is undergoing vast changes due to the need to update aging infrastructure and meet a growing demand for emissions-free electricity.
Hood River, ORPosted by
Columbia Insight

The Music of Bees: Lessons from a Columbia Basin beekeeper

A new novel from Eileen Garvin examines the plight of honeybees and their keepers in the Columbia River Gorge. On her way to pick up 10,000 honeybees on a spring evening in 2016, Eileen Garvin spotted a young man in a wheelchair rolling toward her at dusk. The Hood River writer and backyard beekeeper pulled to the side of the road and wrote down the opening sentence of what would become her first novel: “Jacob Stevenson had the tallest mohawk in the history of Hood River Valley High School.”
MinoritiesPosted by
Columbia Insight

New law would ban bias offenders from public wilderness

A bill in the Oregon legislature aims to put teeth—and punishment—behind environmental equity rhetoric. His apparent offense? Being a Black man fishing in Oregon. Brown—who recounted his experience with backwoods bias for Columbia Insight in 2020—was one of more than 20 Oregon residents who testified before an Oregon Senate committee on bias they’ve experienced in outdoor spaces.
Oregon StatePosted by
Columbia Insight

Developers back off controversial fracked gas power plant in Oregon

As environmentalists celebrate a victory against Wind Chaser proposal, industry ponders possible ‘shift toward a cleaner energy landscape’. Legal counsel for Perennial-WindChaser LLC informed the Multnomah County Circuit Court of Perennial’s decision to terminate the Wind Chaser Station only a day before the court was set to hear oral arguments from Perennial and environmental advocacy organizations Columbia Riverkeeper and Friends of the Columbia Gorge.